From the evaluation stage through living with your device, you’ll have the support of a neurologist and neurosurgeon with special training and experience with DBS therapy.
What was surgery like? How did DBS change your tremor? When you want to know what DBS is really like, sometimes the best people to talk to are the ones who’ve been there. Connect with a patient — not a Medtronic employee — who volunteers to speak with people considering DBS therapy for essential tremor.
Your neurologist — typically a movement disorder specialist — will evaluate you to see if DBS is a good option for you. The evaluation usually includes:
Neurological exam of your movements, both on and off medications
MRI of the brain to check whether there are any issues that would pose a risk during the surgery
Lab tests, such as a blood test to make sure your blood clots properly
The doctor will share the results with you, and together you will decide whether or not to go forward with the therapy.
Your doctor will create images and maps of your brain to help guide the placement of the lead during the surgery. You will have an MRI or CT scan to capture images of your brain.
There are two parts to the DBS surgery: implanting a thin wire (lead) in the brain and placing the pacemaker-like device, called the neurostimulator, under the skin of the chest. The two parts may be done on the same day or two different days.
A few weeks later, your doctor will turn on the neurostimulator and adjust the stimulation to best control your symptoms while minimizing side effects.
Most people don't feel the stimulation at all when it’s first turned on, but some feel a brief tingling.
It will take a few programming sessions to find the stimulation levels that work best for you — don't get discouraged.
You'll have follow-up visits to check your results and adjust as needed. These appointments are key to getting the results you want over time.
Then it's time to get back to your life!
Return to your usual activities, always following your doctor's guidance on what's okay and what to avoid.
DBS delivers therapy 24 hours a day, so it's working to control your symptoms when you wake up first thing in the morning.
There are some activities people with a neurostimulator should approach with caution. Learn more.
It's extremely important to attend all your checkups with the doctor who manages your DBS therapy. Your doctor will:
Make sure that your DBS system is working properly
Adjust your stimulation to best control your symptoms
Check the battery of your neurostimulator to see when you may need a device replacement
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.